1. You will need a work station to work together with Dell PowerEdge 720XD together. Also need plug in the network cable for Idrac port at the back of the server. You also need one Windows 2012 ISO or disk ready on your work station.
2. Remember the Idrac and system installation can run at same time, which means when you are asked to put in virtual media, you can actually login to Idrac to do it simutanesly, and the change will imediately reflected on the physic Power Edge Server. This confused me a bit. Now it is actually pretty useful.
Dell Server Configuration
1. Start Dell system, select lifecyle controller by press F10. This will take several minutes.
2. From the LIFECYCLE CONtroller, find things to do.
3. Skip Firmware update here. http://www.dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/04/Product/poweredge-r720xd if you want to.
4. Configure Idrac by click Configure server for remote access(iDRAC).
5. Network->Set the right information for it. I use seperate NIC that dedicated to IDRAC7.Finish.
6. OS to iDRAC Pass Through->Enable. Finish.
7. Configure RAID. I found it is very hard to do this through Lifecycle Controller. So I restart and enter F2 System Setup and created my Virutal Disks here.
8. In my case, I have 12 1T SAS Drive and 12 SATA drive. I need SAS drives for virtual machines and SATA drive for Data shares. I created 1x 1.5T, 1 x 6T and 1x10T virtual disk. Because during Installation, the OS drive can not be bigger than 2T. Make sure you make the OS drive less than 2T. Otherwise it will be wasted. And after installation of WIndows 2012, you can convert the other 6 big hard drive into GPT and fully utilize their size.
9. Prepare to install windows 2012.
1. Start computer with Dell Lifecycle Controller again(F10).
2. Choose deploy OS. Select windows 2012. It will take a while to prepare drivers. After it is ready, it will ask for virtua media.
3. Now go to your workstation, through internet browser, type in your Idrac address, i.e. http://10.1xx.xxx.xxx. The default user name is root and password is calvin, after first time login, it will ask you to reset password.
4. On the right top side panel there is a window of virtual console preview, under that window the thrid option is launch, click launch. It will load a console window. May display no signal. Ignore it. Under the console, go to the first option, virtual media, Launch virtual media, here you can map your local resources to Dell server. In my case, I click add image, select the ISO, check Mapped column. Then go back to the Dell physic server or from Idrac console if you dont have issues, you will find the media is being validating, after several minutes, it tells you it will reboot and you may need click keyboard to start from CD/DVD drive.
5. Now click finish the Dell server will restart itself. Once restarted it will ask you to click keyboard to boot from CD/DVD drive. Hit any key it will lead you to standard installation of server 2012.
6. One good thing about this System Cyclation is, you dont need download server or prepare RAID driver during installation. I believe it is prepared so you can easily install it without inject any other drivers. However, if you want to, you can always use workstation Idrac console to add virtual medias any time, and the changes can always be reflected just like you insert a CD/DVD or attached USB drive.
Make sure your workstation is on since the data is still loaded from your workstation.
Now I am waiting to see if all my disks are picked up and configured properly. And it is. Cheers!